Grandmaster Chess is a relatively late comer to the computerized world of chess programs. Being such, it must stand up against those simulations that have preceded it and in order to be considered a viable contender, even surpass those programs already embraced by the public (e.g., the Chessmaster or Sargon series). Unfortunately, while a competent game in the realm of providing the average chess player with a relatively vigorous and tough functioning playing partner, the game simply doesn't provide enough in the way of analysis or strategy to live up to it's tutor/mentor billings. It does contain a myriad of customizable settings, including 3-D and 2-D boards, multiple skill levels (five), an easy to use menu-driven mouse oriented interface and nice graphics. Where it falls short, however, is in the area most needed by most people who desire a learning tool in addition to a playing partner. This isn't to say that Grandmaster Chess won't make the good moves and knock your socks off most of the time if you're an average player like me, but in terms of telling you why it knocked your socks off, forget it. Even though there is a hint feature and an analysis feature, both are fairly weak in the way the information is presented to the user. Oftentimes it is too fast to allow the user to even begin analyzing the "thinking" mode that reflects the various lines the AI is contemplating so that function is a bit superfluous. Likewise, the game is difficult to maneuver in at times (not game play) regarding the extra features such as the opening library and teaching mode (the library function is an improvement over the pre-CD version).
Grandmaster Chess does have its share of nice features. This deluxe CD-ROM edition contains in it's repertoire a library with nearly 12,000 positions drawn from more than 4,000 opening variations and an option to add your own opening positions as well but still with no meaningful analysis function to steer you right or wrong. Also, the game contains a very nice collection of boards and pieces to use with fully customizable display options. If you're looking for a computer chess tutoring vehicle, however, there are more complete and satisfying chess programs on the market. Whereas the AI playing strength may be more than enough of a challenge for the beginning or intermediate player, the lack of a friendly and functional analysis module detracts from the games overall appeal. What may appeal to many users, however, is the bonus included on the Grandmaster Chess Deluxe Edition CD-ROM, namely the fully functioning Terminator 2: Judgment Day Chess Wars game. This might be one of those rare instances where the term "two for the price of one" may actually have some merit as long as the "two" aren't being considered top of the line products.
Graphics: Not particularly glamorous but then it is a chess game. Nice array of boards and pieces with adjustable point of view.
Sound: Not normally considered a strength of playing chess, sound in the game is nonetheless included and fortunately the sound effects are thankfully unobtrusive.
Enjoyment: The AI is a formidable opponent but lacks bite in the analysis department. If you're looking for the reason behind why you are improving or not, don't look here.
Replay Value: Any computer chess game that contains a strong AI, especially against players up through the intermediate level, has to be considered a good replay value.
It's chess. Grandmaster Chess. Chess in SVGA and on a CD-ROM. Multiple Skill Levels, Various different sets of boards and pieces. Pull-down menus, Analysis Mode, a VCR-like Replay/Review Option and able to give the player a chess rating.
A classical chess game needs no more then 2 colors (black and white) and even those aren't really considered to be colors. Still this game features full VGA graphics which makes it look really nice. Moving the pieces is done by the mouse, so you needn't worry about typing the correct location of the piece.
The computerized opponent is very good (well depending on the level you set for the AI), but the game is by no means easy. So it does represent a challenge.
You can also set up a position on the board, so you can analyze a match. Also you can save your matches or analyze them.
Naturally you can choose to play the white or black pieces and you can even play against another human (unfortunately not online).
Basically this game offers you everything a solid game of chess should. You can even change and resume playing at another time or print out the moves made. You can ask the computer to show his reasoning behind a certain move, so you can even learn how the computer thinks. So in a way you can even learn from the computer.
All in all this is a great game for all true chess lovers. Definitely a must have!
People who downloaded Grandmaster Chess have also downloaded:
USCF Chess, Complete Chess System, Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess, Expert Chess, Chess System Tal, Fritz 9: Play Chess, Fritz 2.00, Chessmaster 9000
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